Note-Taking in Upper Elementary and Middle School Classes
How much do your math and ELA students love taking notes?!
What's your favorite method for taking notes with your upper elementary or middle school students?
Maybe your favorite math method is different from your favorite ELA method. Maybe they're similar:-)
I used to use fold it ups (or foldables) quite often in both math and language arts. However, my middle school classes were always 40ish minutes long and often, no matter how prepared I was, creating the fold it up just ate up too much of the class time.
Using Fold It Ups
Sometimes there wasn't enough time to add the notes before math or language arts classes was over.
And the fold it ups were kind of hard to keep organized. We tried using folders and envelopes, and in my last years of using them, I tried using a bound book of fold it ups. I took all my math fold it ups and organized them in the order we'd use them during the school year, added some blank pages in between them, and had them bound as a book for each math student. Then all the fold it ups stayed in the book. Some remained attached on their original page because they were never totally cut out; some were glued or taped onto the blank pages. This method of organizing the notes was the one that worked best for my math students.
I never did that with ELA...because I stopped teaching that class before I had this idea, lol.
But then, I started making math wheels....
Math Wheels for Taking Notes
My new favorite note-taking method for middle school math (and ELA if I still taught it) became the wheel graphic organizers - Math Wheels and ELA Wheels. I love these note-taking wheels for so many reasons!
Benefits of Using Math or ELA Wheels for Taking Notes
1) All the notes on these graphic organizers are on one surface/one side of a page (no folding or unfolding to add info...and then again to find the info:-).
2) The notes are engaging!
3) The wheels have a patterned background that typically includes some practice problems, so students have their notes and practice examples all on one page - this is super helpful when they need a refresher later in the year.....they can look at the notes and the problems they solved.
4) It's SO easy to store these graphic organizers! Math and ELA wheels can easily be stored in a folder or envelope. Or, they can be hole-punched and kept conveniently in a binder. If you use a type of interactive notebook, they can be added to that. And then students can reference these notes ALL YEAR!
5) Students get to color the background, so they get that little added coloring benefit as part of their day:-) They may choose to color in a way that helps them remember or focus on a particular aspect of the content. This is another opportunity to be creative in math class, while using color and coloring to help them learn.
Have you tried math or ELA wheels? If not, I hope you will! There are several free ones here on the blog:
Problem Solving Wheels
Rounding Decimals Wheel
Fraction, Decimal, Percent Wheel
Percent of Number Wheel
You can access all my Math and ELA Wheels on TPT:
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Hey there! I'm Ellie - here to share math fun, best practices, and engaging, challenging, easy-prep activities ideas!